Workshops & the Power of iPads

Don't faint, I'm blogging 2 days in a row!!!

I will admit that it has taken me a while to find my groove this year.  There is no format for my daily activities, so I had to make it all up.  What I came up with at first...didn't work AT ALL.  I felt like it was too chaotic.

 My students need teacher guidance, but not necessarily direct instruction (ie: most don't need direct instruction on how to find the Main Idea, but they need a lot of modeling of social behaviors and how to work at that station and how to function in my classroom).  I don't deal well with chaos, I prefer controlled chaos.

After Tuesday, I KNEW I had to change things.  Introduce the Workshop Model.  It has worked perfectly! Workshops are basically "stations/centers" but I call them Workshops because the groups and partners are collaborating and I am facilitating (not re-teaching).  It works oh sooo well!

So my day looks like this:
Brain Teasers/Logic Problems
Workshop - 4 Stations (2 in the AM and 2 in the PM)

Workshop 1 - Photography (Students set up a photo that represents how they represent the 7 Scholarly Habits) around the school.  This station is completed with a partner.

Workshop 2 - Bat Research (students use iPads, fiction books and expository texts to locate information about bats - they record it into a few different graphic organizers I provided).  This station can be completed in partners or independently.    Students also took a quiz about bats on google docs.  They enjoyed that, but not as much as I anticipated.

Workshop 3 - Myth Comic Strip - Next month we're going on a field trip to a cave. When we introduced the idea of this field trip, students had many apprehensions about going into the cave and seeing bats. So we're studying about dangerous animals who get a bad reputation because of myths and urban legends. I collected a few websites and set up a Weebly Website.  I LOVE it!  

Workshop 4 - Measurement and Reading Charts.  Students chose their instrument of measurement and measured bat wingspans given in a table.  The table had both inches and feet listed, which did trip a few up. The had to make observations or ask questions about each bat.  Some examples include, "The XYZ bat's
wingspan is more than my entire body."  or "I wonder if my dog is larger than XYZ bat?"

Sorry, I can't get the pic to turn:(
After lunch, we worked on greek/latin roots using the frayer model (which I modify).  I love it though.  I try to include word pictures that represent the vocabulary word.  These are ahhh-some for GT students.

They were super excited to use the whiteboards, so I let them draw a bat and label it.  I also did an informal pre-test about their knowledge of text features (only my prior students knew the that they drew a diagram). 

I did a quick read aloud, Bats at the Beach.  Hilarious!!  My 5th graders adored it!  
We ended with a try at KidBlog.  It went well, still a few kinks.  I put up a blog post and wanted them to comment.  It worked okay.  I think they need more time that's for sure!!

Have you ever tried Kidblog, Weebly or Cameras in the classroom?

This Little Piggy is making chocolate chip cookies for dessert!!  

1 comment :

Jodi said...

I'm glad you have found an approach that you like and that works so well. I have used (had the students) use my digital camera for a project but I am inspired to try the Ipad with a group while the others work on something else. Thank you!